Thursday, September 22, 2011

Jammin' Wedding Video!

     While on Pinterest today I found this totally rockin' wedding video. After watching it several times I wandered who the couple was, who shot the video, and other questions about their big day. So what else do you do but google their name!  I found a site which interviews Joya (the bride)!!! I couldn't believe it! So wait no longer, here's the link. ( you will have to scroll to the very top of the page to read the article..not sure why it's at the bottom when you click on the link!?)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Nascar Race Trip Part 3

     We were able to sleep in on Saturday morning. Yay for that! Sarah & I slept in the big bed & Chuckie, Colby & Granny slept on the couch, blow up mattress & the table that makes into a bed. Sarah told me that I hogged the covers....LOL!! So the next night she made sure she had her own comforter. She fixed that situation!

While lounging around Sarah decided she would organize the kitchen! It was so nice for her to help out!! I'm thinking my kitchen could use some help. lol The joys of having a daughter. :)
Sarah made herself at home...she cleaned & organized the kitchen! I'm thinking I need her in my kitchen. :) I sure have missed out in having a daughter all these years. :)

My future daughter in law & I....   :)

Amer & his Grandpa (also our Uncle Gene)

My Mother in law & I....

Amer never minds getting his pic taken. :)

So sweet...Amer just sitting there watching the race cars go by.

You would think a forest ranger knows not to play with fire! lol

Chuckie, Sarah & Colby ready for the race to begin!

Sarah & Colby....

Hey y'all!!!

I love this pic...They Love each other so much. :)

Let the racing begin!

Sarah looking for Trevor Bayne! :):)

Just me! I'm all ready for church. :)

This is where Chuckie & I went to church Sunday morning. :) We heard such a good lesson. It's such a blessing to gather with fellow Christians!

I do have a few pics to post of our trip on the way back to Florida. I'll get them here soon.... :)

Until next time-

Monday, September 12, 2011

The Spoon Theory..

      Fibromyalgia stinks. I was dx with having this chronic condition summer of 2000. I knew I had been feeling tired  exhausted and knew something wasn't right. I ended up having to take a month off at work for doctors appointment, tests & resting. Luckily for me I was dx within a few months by my primary Dr. & then by my Rheumatoid Dr. I remember feeling relieved that I had a dx! I was so glad to have a reason for feeling so bad.
     For several months I was only able to work 1/2 days. I would take the kids to school, work till lunch time & then go Robin's house (aka my Best Friend) and rest / sleep until time to pick my kiddos up from school. (At this time we lived too far from home for me to make a trip home & come back to pick the kids up so it worked out so perfect for me to go to Robin's house. Thank goodness for Best Friends!!)
     I had such a hard time telling family & friends about Fibro and how it made me feel. (I didn't have a hard time explaining to my Mom or Dad or my Sister Karen because Karen was dx with Fibro several years earlier.) I really wish I had of had The Spoon Theory to print and hand out because it would have helped a lot!

The Spoon Theory

by Christine Miserandino

     My best friend and I were in the diner, talking. As usual, it was very late and we were eating French fries with gravy. Like normal girls our age, we spent a lot of time in the diner while in college, and most of the time we spent talking about boys, music or trivial things, that seemed very important at the time. We never got serious about anything in particular and spent most of our time laughing.

     As I went to take some of my medicine with a snack as I usually did, she watched me with an awkward kind of stare, instead of continuing the conversation. She then asked me out of the blue what it felt like to have Lupus and be sick. I was shocked not only because she asked the random question, but also because I assumed she knew all there was to know about Lupus. She came to doctors with me, she saw me walk with a cane, and throw up in the bathroom. She had seen me cry in pain, what else was there to know?

     I started to ramble on about pills, and aches and pains, but she kept pursuing, and didn’t seem satisfied with my answers. I was a little surprised as being my roommate in college and friend for years; I thought she already knew the medical definition of Lupus. Then she looked at me with a face every sick person knows well, the face of pure curiosity about something no one healthy can truly understand. She asked what it felt like, not physically, but what it felt like to be me, to be sick.

      As I tried to gain my composure, I glanced around the table for help or guidance, or at least stall for time to think. I was trying to find the right words. How do I answer a question I never was able to answer for myself? How do I explain every detail of every day being effected, and give the emotions a sick person goes through with clarity. I could have given up, cracked a joke like I usually do, and changed the subject, but I remember thinking if I don’t try to explain this, how could I ever expect her to understand. If I can’t explain this to my best friend, how could I explain my world to anyone else? I had to at least try.

     At that moment, the spoon theory was born. I quickly grabbed every spoon on the table; hell I grabbed spoons off of the other tables. I looked at her in the eyes and said “Here you go, you have Lupus”. She looked at me slightly confused, as anyone would when they are being handed a bouquet of spoons. The cold metal spoons clanked in my hands, as I grouped them together and shoved them into her hands.

     I explained that the difference in being sick and being healthy is having to make choices or to consciously think about things when the rest of the world doesn’t have to. The healthy have the luxury of a life without choices, a gift most people take for granted.

     Most people start the day with unlimited amount of possibilities, and energy to do whatever they desire, especially young people. For the most part, they do not need to worry about the effects of their actions. So for my explanation, I used spoons to convey this point. I wanted something for her to actually hold, for me to then take away, since most people who get sick feel a “loss” of a life they once knew. If I was in control of taking away the spoons, then she would know what it feels like to have someone or something else, in this case Lupus, being in control.

     She grabbed the spoons with excitement. She didn’t understand what I was doing, but she is always up for a good time, so I guess she thought I was cracking a joke of some kind like I usually do when talking about touchy topics. Little did she know how serious I would become?

     I asked her to count her spoons. She asked why, and I explained that when you are healthy you expect to have a never-ending supply of “spoons”. But when you have to now plan your day, you need to know exactly how many “spoons” you are starting with. It doesn’t guarantee that you might not lose some along the way, but at least it helps to know where you are starting. She counted out 12 spoons. She laughed and said she wanted more. I said no, and I knew right away that this little game would work, when she looked disappointed, and we hadn’t even started yet. I’ve wanted more “spoons” for years and haven’t found a way yet to get more, why should she? I also told her to always be conscious of how many she had, and not to drop them because she can never forget she has Lupus.

      I asked her to list off the tasks of her day, including the most simple. As, she rattled off daily chores, or just fun things to do; I explained how each one would cost her a spoon. When she jumped right into getting ready for work as her first task of the morning, I cut her off and took away a spoon. I practically jumped down her throat. I said ” No! You don’t just get up. You have to crack open your eyes, and then realize you are late. You didn’t sleep well the night before. You have to crawl out of bed, and then you have to make your self something to eat before you can do anything else, because if you don’t, you can’t take your medicine, and if you don’t take your medicine you might as well give up all your spoons for today and tomorrow too.” I quickly took away a spoon and she realized she hasn’t even gotten dressed yet. Showering cost her spoon, just for washing her hair and shaving her legs. Reaching high and low that early in the morning could actually cost more than one spoon, but I figured I would give her a break; I didn’t want to scare her right away. Getting dressed was worth another spoon. I stopped her and broke down every task to show her how every little detail needs to be thought about. You cannot simply just throw clothes on when you are sick. I explained that I have to see what clothes I can physically put on, if my hands hurt that day buttons are out of the question. If I have bruises that day, I need to wear long sleeves, and if I have a fever I need a sweater to stay warm and so on. If my hair is falling out I need to spend more time to look presentable, and then you need to factor in another 5 minutes for feeling badly that it took you 2 hours to do all this.

     I think she was starting to understand when she theoretically didn't  even get to work, and she was left with 6 spoons. I then explained to her that she needed to choose the rest of her day wisely, since when your “spoons” are gone, they are gone. Sometimes you can borrow against tomorrow’s “spoons”, but just think how hard tomorrow will be with less “spoons”. I also needed to explain that a person who is sick always lives with the looming thought that tomorrow may be the day that a cold comes, or an infection, or any number of things that could be very dangerous. So you do not want to run low on “spoons”, because you never know when you truly will need them. I didn’t want to depress her, but I needed to be realistic, and unfortunately being prepared for the worst is part of a real day for me.

     We went through the rest of the day, and she slowly learned that skipping lunch would cost her a spoon, as well as standing on a train, or even typing at her computer too long. She was forced to make choices and think about things differently. Hypothetically, she had to choose not to run errands, so that she could eat dinner that night.

     When we got to the end of her pretend day, she said she was hungry. I summarized that she had to eat dinner but she only had one spoon left. If she cooked, she wouldn’t have enough energy to clean the pots. If she went out for dinner, she might be too tired to drive home safely. Then I also explained, that I didn’t even bother to add into this game, that she was so nauseous, that cooking was probably out of the question anyway. So she decided to make soup, it was easy. I then said it is only 7pm, you have the rest of the night but maybe end up with one spoon, so you can do something fun, or clean your apartment, or do chores, but you can’t do it all.

     I rarely see her emotional, so when I saw her upset I knew maybe I was getting through to her. I didn't want my friend to be upset, but at the same time I was happy to think finally maybe someone understood me a little bit. She had tears in her eyes and asked quietly “Christine, How do you do it? Do you really do this everyday?” I explained that some days were worse then others; some days I have more spoons then most. But I can never make it go away and I can’t forget about it, I always have to think about it. I handed her a spoon I had been holding in reserve. I said simply, “I have learned to live life with an extra spoon in my pocket, in reserve. You need to always be prepared.”

     Its hard, the hardest thing I ever had to learn is to slow down, and not do everything. I fight this to this day. I hate feeling left out, having to choose to stay home, or to not get things done that I want to. I wanted her to feel that frustration. I wanted her to understand, that everything everyone else does comes so easy, but for me it is one hundred little jobs in one. I need to think about the weather, my temperature that day, and the whole day’s plans before I can attack any one given thing. When other people can simply do things, I have to attack it and make a plan like I am strategizing a war. It is in that lifestyle, the difference between being sick and healthy. It is the beautiful ability to not think and just do. I miss that freedom. I miss never having to count “spoons”.

     After we were emotional and talked about this for a little while longer, I sensed she was sad. Maybe she finally understood. Maybe she realized that she never could truly and honestly say she understands. But at least now she might not complain so much when I can’t go out for dinner some nights, or when I never seem to make it to her house and she always has to drive to mine. I gave her a hug when we walked out of the diner. I had the one spoon in my hand and I said “Don’t worry. I see this as a blessing. I have been forced to think about everything I do. Do you know how many spoons people waste everyday? I don’t have room for wasted time, or wasted “spoons” and I chose to spend this time with you.”

     Ever since this night, I have used the spoon theory to explain my life to many people. In fact, my family and friends refer to spoons all the time. It has been a code word for what I can and cannot do. Once people understand the spoon theory they seem to understand me better, but I also think they live their life a little differently too. I think it isn’t just good for understanding Lupus, but anyone dealing with any disability or illness. Hopefully, they don’t take so much for granted or their life in general. I give a piece of myself, in every sense of the word when I do anything. It has become an inside joke. I have become famous for saying to people jokingly that they should feel special when I spend time with them, because they have one of my “spoons”.

     This story completely explains me. It just sums it up. Thank you Christine for putting how we feel into words. I know I have such a hard time explaining how I feel. Normally I would say on a bad flare up day it feels like having a bad case of the flu. We all know how it feels to have the flu...Yuck!

      So please have consideration for those around you who may not look sick but are sick. I have had so many people, friends & family included say, "but you don't look sick". I do admit most of the time I can hide it well. You know put on make up, fix my hair, & smile. Yep, smiling covers a multitude. :) But what's rather funny is I've had days to which I thought I hid it well, but to be called on it, someone actually say, "you're not feeling well are you?" I remember thinking to myself, "I thought no one would be able to tell!" 

     Well you've learned more about who I am. I am thankful for the life I live, even with having Fibro because I know it could be so much worse!! I thank my heavenly Father for my health that I do have. My blessings are way more than I could ever count! 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Nascar Race Trip Part 2

     We pulled out Friday Sept.2nd at 6:24am. My mother in law, Frances aka Granny, Colby, Sarah, Chuckie (my hubby) & myself were the ones making the trip. We couldn't talk Papa & Brandon into going with us. Brandon was more interested in Saturday's University of Florida Gator Game (1st of the season), which they did win! Go Gators!!I wish our two furry boys aka Newman & Ollie could have come with us!

We stopped around 8:00am to eat breakfast at the yummy Cracker Barrell. This is also a family tradition to eat there on the way up to the races & typically on our way home Monday morning! :) Love family traditions!! Our next stop was Ag Supply Store in  Tifton, GA. It's basically a guy's store. Colby was looking for a Tractor Seat. It ended up being about $45.00 cheaper than Tractor Supply! We love saving money. I did buy $2.45 worth of fender washers. Nobody knew why on earth was I buying washer bolts?  I saw a blog that made some cute necklaces from washers!! I'm gonna try to make some. We will see how it goes. This will be a Saturday project later on in the month.

This was my breakfast....

Colby & Granny....

Sarah & Colby entertaining themselves. :)

Our next stop was at Hobby Lobby! Frances had never been there so I knew this would be a treat for her. :) When she and I walked into the store there was a huge display of Fall / Thanksgiving decorations and I mean a huge display. All Frances could say was, "Oh my goodness!" It was sweet because I know how much she loves decorating her house for all the Holidays. Sarah was able to find some beautiful red roses to make her wedding bouquet. They were even 50% off! She found several decor items & I even bought her a cute plaque to hang in her kitchen. We girls had a lot of fun. We were kind of hurried because Chuckie & Colby didn't stay in the store very long before they said they would wait for us at the vehicle. They did not rush us though, but it's hard to really take your time looking. So just the girls are going back to the Hobby Lobby located in Ocala to shop; hopefully sometime this month or in October.

Granny & Sarah....

Me, Granny & Sarah were ready to shop!

Sarah found some Beautiful roses for her bridal bouqet & other uses at the wedding.

We arrived at the track around 4:30 Friday afternoon. It was awfully hot. It didn't take long and we had the camper chilling. :) Thank goodness for air conditioning!! We girlled some awesome hamburgers for supper. They were frozen patties bought from Sam's Club. They were so good Sarah & I ended up eating them for lunch the next day and for Sunday's lunch!!

See how close the fence is to the track? AWESOME! 

Our camper is on the left & Aunt Ruthie's is on the right. 

Yummy Sam's Club burgers!

It was Delicious!

The Nascar Truck Race took place on Friday night. Colby & Sarah watched it from the view on top of the camper. They were all set with their scanners. Colby & Sarah listened to the announcers.
Chuckie took this pic. He was on top of Uncle Gene's camper. :)

Awesome pic you took, Chuckie! 

Colby & Sarah :)

Part 3 will be coming soon. I promise to not wait a week to post again. :)

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Labor Day Weekend Get Away {Zoom, Zoom} Part 1

Guess where we went this Labor Day weekend? It was our mini-vacation away from home. All I can say is we needed this get away!. We haven't went anywhere this summer so we were more than excited. We went  somewhere that is basically a family all started back in 2000 all credit is due to Aunt Ruthie & Uncle Gene. :) {{Double Thank You to them!!}} Can you say Boogity, Boogity, Boogity? Yep!!! Nascar Races here we come! We went to the Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, GA. This wasn't  a trip to the races & sitting in the stands. Oh no, this is way different! You honeslty couldn't pay me to sit in the stands after experiencing it the way we do!!

Aunt Ruthie & Uncle Gene have a camping spot on Turn One inside of the track. Yep, right in the middle of the track!! You really didn't think I was staying in a tent did you? Well at least not in the hot weather, because I have stayed in a tent once at the races, but it was cold & I LOVE cold weather!! :)
Typically we buy the camping spot right next to Aunt Ruthie and pull my inlaws fifth wheel camper there. This year there was confusion because the guy that owns the camping spot next to Aunt Ruthie somehow didn't receive his ticket from Atlanta Motor Speedway & they would not mail him a second ticket. That meant we didn't have ticket to buy! He would have actually had to come from Ohio where he lives & drive to Atlanta to pick up his ticket, which he could not do. So that meant we were out of a camping spot. {insert boo-hoo}.

Well all had been looking forward to getting away. Not to mention Colby our oldest son invited his girlfriend,Sarah to come along with us. This would be her first Nascar experience and he was so very excited to show her around. This is something we've been doing for years and now he would get to show her part of his life and what  he's experienced. So sweet, determined Colby got on Ebay (this is after his Dad & Sarah had already searched high and low) & Sarah even made a few calls only to be told the spots had sold a day or two before!) & guess what? Colby found a camping spot in the middle of the track! Bless his heart...he was thrilled not to mention us too!! He did bid on the spot & won the ticket. Colby had the ticket fedex overnited to us so we would receive it before we left. So the game was back on. :)

^^^^^ Our destination! :)

Sarah & Colby.....He's an awesome driver!

Just Me!!!

My inlaws truck & fifth wheel camper.....

More to come as soon as I finish journaling the rest of our trip! Stay tuned. ;)